AP WAS THERE: US Congress declares war during WWI

In 1918 above a soldier succumbs to a gas attack in France during World War I. Below Syrian doctors treat a child victim of a gas attack this week described as the worst in the country’s six-year war

Secondly, the war had benefited the US economy and given birth to the world's most powerful military-industrial complex.

When the US joined the battle, the war - and the world - changed forever.

Swinging its industrial might and vast manpower behind France and Britain against Germany and its allies on April 6, 1917, the United States tipped the balance of the conflict and marked its own emergence as a global power. European appeasement and American isolationism encouraged the new Axis Powers to become more determined to reverse World War I's outcome. The combination of these two developments galvanized American support for war against Germany, not for conquest but to defend the national interests. That only increased when a German submarine sunk the British passenger ship Lusitania in May 1915. "The war affected humanity in countless ways, which we still experience today".

Americans had long resisted the temptation to engage in European politics.

The U.S. entered the fight a century ago, on April 6, 1917, almost three years after it erupted in Europe during the summer of 1914.

Volunteers found their ways into service in British, Canadian, French and other armies, and they swarmed to serve in the French Foreign Legion.

People like Roosevelt anxious that an Allied defeat would result in Germany's occupation of parts of Canada, as well as British and French Caribbean possessions.

Diseases - especially influenza - also took a toll, and likely killed more Americans than bullets or bombs. After the war, America stepped onto the world stage, and that continues today with our troops becoming involved in conflicts around the world.

In November 1916, Wilson won re-election after campaigning on the slogan, "He kept us out of war!".

Three events in early 1917 changed the equation. Mexico would recover land lost to the United States in an earlier war, including Texas, in exchange for German gold and weapons.

It was a situation Wilson had done his utmost to avoid over the preceding two and a half years, enduring the brickbats and howls of anguish which came his way from opponents demanding active intervention in Europe. Its publication outraged Americans.

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The slide towards war had begun just over two months before, the result of a decision by the Imperial German Government to resume its policy of unrestricted U-boat warfare - the targeting of any and all shipping, including American vessels - in the coastal waters around the British Isles.

Germany and Russian Federation declared war on each other.

Nine days later, guns were placed on USA ships to defend against German U-boats.

But as historian Libby O'Connell noted, the American military was less than awe-inspiring. On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany, explaining that that nation's unrestricted submarine warfare constituted " a warfare against mankind " and that the USA policy of "armed neutrality" in the conflict that had been sweeping across Europe was no longer working. "The world must be made safe for democracy", he proclaimed. The Federal Reserve System, that unaccountable and supra-constitutional invention that plagues us to this day, was one of his "cures" for a problem that did not exist. According to USA military records, the AEF suffered 53,402 combat deaths, 63,114 non-combat deaths, and 204,000 wounded.

The arrival of fresh USA troops was a key factor in breaking a stalemate that had developed among the beleaguered European troops and helped end the war on November 11, 1918, known as Armistice Day.

Here are seven of them - not even counting the simple fact that the US entry on the Allied side saved a mutinous French army and blunted Germany's last-ditch offensive in 1918.

Meanwhile, the US had other foreign policy issues. "The impression made upon the hard-pressed French by this seemingly inexhaustible flood of gleaming youth... was prodigious", Winston Churchill later wrote.

In 1950, President Harry S. Truman allowed US forces to participate in the U.N.'s "police action" against North Korea.

Across the Atlantic, the American economy boomed with war spending. Unfortunately for mankind, there were even greater, and more deadly, wars to come.

At first, the USA attempted to remain neutral in the European conflict.

Mexico was of course in the midst of its own civil war, and in April 1917 the United States had not yet even recognized the government of Mexican President Venustiano Carranza. "That", Neiberg said, "is a debate we're still having".

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